Are You Scared to Go Back to Office?
The world is eyeing Coronavirus vaccine. Many drug laboratories are in the third-stage of clinical trial of the vaccine candidates. As India’s three laboratories are also among them, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited these drug magnets to check the development of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Indeed, we all are eyeing the release of one or all of these vaccines to go back to our pre-COVID normal.
We all have witnessed the new normal COVID brought in, having blurred the work-life balance line. Burnout is now the new normal; working from home is burning out employees and leadership teams alike, who are now more than willing to go back to office. A report stated that over 77 percent of white-collar employees in India feel work from home as less enjoyable while 49 percent of employees feel left out while working from home and are missing office social life (Barco). Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco Electronic Systems said, “Our new research depicts that the future of the workplace is not remote, but hybrid. While Indians value family time greatly, with 65 percent of the respondents stating this as a major benefit of working from home, they are now ready to head back to office. The prevalent office culture has several positives, which are only set to be enhanced with the hybrid workplace trend. Organisations must invest in technologies that enable hybrid work to cater to employee requirements and enable bright outcomes in the workplace.” According to the survey, India’s maximum employees don’t wish to work from home in the future but interested in a hybrid work model.
Nearly 62 percent of Indian employees look forward to working in large offices rather than working from smaller satellite offices once work from office resumes. But according to Atlassian Corporation Plc (NASDAQ: TEAM), nearly 83 percent of employees in India are still nervous to go back to office without COVID-19 vaccine. Just contrary to what Barco’s survey said, Atlassian’s survey says that nearly 66 percent of the employees want to work completely from home. I wonder this may be due to the next wave of COVID-19 that countries across the globe are experiencing.
The report also says that while people are still managing new challenges that come with remote work, many reported a sense of relief being free from the usual presenteeism of the office environment. Surprisingly, 70 percent of people reported their job satisfaction is better than before COVID-19 restrictions. In fact, 61 percent of employees find it manageable to effectively work at home during the COVID-19 restrictions. With all the positives surrounding remote work, the study also revealed that a majority of Indian workers (78 percent) were actually worried about what their home life looks like to their colleagues and what it says to them.
Indeed the pandemic has brought people together to share their personal experiences more with their colleagues. This has brought them closer and helped them build better relationship. Even Atlassian’s report says so. According to it, 86 percent of the employees in India feel more connected and 75 percent thought their team worked better together compared to pre-COVID. Nearly 89 percent of Indian employees reported a feeling of unity and cohesion in their team, while one in two of managers reported better job satisfaction than pre-COVID-19.
Dinesh Ajmera, Site Lead and Head of Engineering, Bengaluru, Atlassian said, “The research findings point to how the ‘new normal’ will shape work, relationships and collaboration in the future. These are the voices of real people facing real complexities. Now is our opportunity to use the insights we have been presented with to adapt for the better, guided by the experiences of employees around the world.”
But are organizations well prepared to return to office? Atleast Atlassian’s survey says so, according to which 88 percent of Indian employees believed their company are already prepared for returning to office, while 78 percent of the workforce in India were annoyed that it took a pandemic to allow them to work from home. And nearly 81 percent of surveyed respondents in India are struggling to maintain boundaries between work and personal lives, compared to 79 percent in Australia and 58 percent in US.